Red Sox: Five biggest offseason questions heading into December
By Tim Starr
Who will be the starting first baseman?
Two free agents, Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce, are set to leave Boston in free agency this offseason. With very little chance to bring back either of the aging first baseman, the Red Sox have to figure out the situation at first. There are a few intriguing internal options and some external options could help fill the roster hole.
First of all, and the most probable option, is bringing Bobby Dalbec to the majors. The slugger was recently added to the 40-man roster which could signal his major league debut in 2020. He mashed nearly 30 home runs this past season which accurately conveys his excellent power. A few years of development and Dalbec could be a middle of the order bat for Boston. If this happens, Michael Chavis would be the second baseman.
A second option is moving Chavis to first base. He basically split his time between second and first last season and it may have contributed to his offensive decline as the season went on. He had to learn a new position (second base) and combined with the rigor a second baseman has to play with may have taken his focus away from hitting. He also had a season-ending injury in August due to a diving play at second.
This option would block Dalbec so he would become a trade chip or he would have to learn a new position. Marco Hernandez would probably take over second base (or Dustin Pedroia, you never know). This option seems the least likely because it blocks Dalbec from the majors and Hernandez hasn’t proven that he is an everyday ballplayer.
A third and final option is bringing in an external addition to play first. This also seems unlikely because the signing/trade would have to be a left-handed bat (there aren’t many left-handed first baseman available) because they would end up platooning with Dalbec. Also, this would likely be an upgrade that the Red Sox should not prioritize. A first baseman likely costs around $7 million per year and that money could help a bullpen that could use it.
Overall, the most likely option is that Dalbec takes over at first base while the Ice Horse plays second base. Chavis should improve at second because he has a whole winter to learn the new position.